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Access to Justice Act 1999

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

4Community Legal Service

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)The Commission shall establish, maintain and develop a service known as the Community Legal Service for the purpose of promoting the availability to individuals of services of the descriptions specified in subsection (2) and, in particular, for securing (within the resources made available, and priorities set, in accordance with this Part) that individuals have access to services that effectively meet their needs.

(2)The descriptions of services referred to in subsection (1) are—

(a)the provision of general information about the law and legal system and the availability of legal services,

(b)the provision of help by the giving of advice as to how the law applies in particular circumstances,

(c)the provision of help in preventing, or settling or otherwise resolving, disputes about legal rights and duties,

(d)the provision of help in enforcing decisions by which such disputes are resolved, and

(e)the provision of help in relation to legal proceedings not relating to disputes.

(3)Services which the Commission is required to fund as part of the Criminal Defence Service do not fall within subsection (2).

(4)Every person who exercises any function relating to the Community Legal Service shall have regard to the desirability of exercising it, so far as is reasonably practicable, so as to—

(a)promote improvements in the range and quality of services provided as part of the Community Legal Service and in the ways in which they are made accessible to those who need them,

(b)secure that the services provided in relation to any matter are appropriate having regard to its nature and importance, and

(c)achieve the swift and fair resolution of disputes without unnecessary or unduly protracted proceedings in court.

(5)The Commission shall fund services of the descriptions specified in subsection (2) as part of the Community Legal Service in accordance with the following sections.

(6)The Commission shall also inform itself about the need for, and the provision of, services of the descriptions specified in subsection (2) and about the quality of the services provided and, in co-operation with such authorities and other bodies and persons as it considers appropriate—

(a)plan what can be done towards meeting that need by the performance by the Commission of its functions, and

(b)facilitate the planning by other authorities, bodies and persons of what can be done by them to meet that need by the use of any resources available to them;

and the Commission shall notify the Lord Chancellor of what it has done under this subsection.

(7)The Commission may set and monitor standards in relation to services of the descriptions specified in subsection (2).

(8)In particular, the Commission may accredit, or authorise others to accredit, persons or bodies providing services of the descriptions specified in subsection (2); and any system of accreditation shall include provision for the monitoring of the services provided by accredited persons and bodies and for the withdrawal of accreditation from any providing services of unsatisfactory quality.

(9)The Commission may charge—

(a)for accreditation,

(b)for monitoring the services provided by accredited persons and bodies, and

(c)for authorising accreditation by others;

and persons or bodies authorised to accredit may charge for accreditation, and for such monitoring, in accordance with the terms of their authorisation.

(10)The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge the functions in subsections (6) to (9) in accordance with the order.

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